Entrepreneur Beginners Guide
“You sometimes get more resentment than respect”
Entrepreneurs are the forgotten heroes of America. —Ronald Reagan, fortieth president, United States of America
When you become an entrepreneur, you don’t receive a superhero outfit with a big “E” on the front of it. Although you are indeed superhuman having taken an ocean-sized leap that many would never consider, having solved complex problems, and having turned a passion into profit-the ordinary person doesn’t value your superpowers. And when you become successful, Gotham won’t throw you a party to thank you for helping to save the economy; it will probably just send you a higher tax bill. To most people, you are the same person you always were. You are far from being a superhero on an elite team like the. Avengers, fighting and squashing unemployment, recessions, and underdevelopment. In fact, some people consider you to be more like a villain than a savior.
Part of the recent blame for this lack of appreciation is the poor economy. Entrepreneurship has now been proposed as the panacea for our economic ills. As more and more economists and government officials believe that encouraging entrepreneurship at its basic level is a partial solution to getting our economy going again, entrepreneurship has lost some of its prestige and allure. It has become a romantic, bureau6ratie last resort to help people who have no jobs. In a few states, programs to spur entrepreneurship appear just as the reserves for unemployment benefits near depletion. Sadly, it has come to this: Being an entrepreneur has become a euphemism for being unemployed. Being an entrepreneur has even been associated with being lazy. Instead of entrepreneurship being a badge of accomplishment, it has become a stigma of shame. The good thing is that this attitude will likely change as the economy improves, but people resent entrepreneurs for two other long-standing reasons.
- Jealousy is perhaps the most common reason that entrepreneurs do not get the respect they deserve, especially from people close to them. As if watching an embellished Facebook feed, resentful spectators are envious of some entrepreneurs’ amazing life-styles. They don’t see the hard work that goes into making that lifestyle possible. It takes superhero-like confidence and gumption to become an entrepreneur—and everyone knows this. Entrepreneurs are extremely rare, comprising less than 1 percent of the overall U.S. population. Despite these facts, people are always jealous of those who take the risks to do something great, and jealousy often manifests itself as resentment.
- Entrepreneurs receive disrespect because they are no longer-on the corporate grid or part of the matrix. As a result, people cannot necessarily put them into a nice box labeled “lawyer,” “mechanic,” or “secretary.” For them, there is an unsettling mystery about what entrepreneurs do, how they spend their time, where they go, and so on. They wonder how they make ends meet. People who are class conscious especially have difficulty because they have no idea how much money an entrepreneur makes. They want to discover who makes more money so that they can assuage the anxiety of their curiosity. In general, people are afraid of and dismissive of what they don’t understand or know; unfortunately, that includes entrepreneurs.
An upside is that entrepreneurs who encounter such resentment often turn it into a powerful motivator. In the same way that a superhero may be motivated to disprove a naysayer, an entrepreneur is inspired to silence resentment toward entrepreneurship, and even personal attacks. Superheroes and entrepreneurs do what must be done regardless. Ultimately, they know that resentment and respect are not mutually exclusive.